"It was lucky," said Bolding, flashing the same smile that he gave the crowd when he parachuted down from the rim with 10 seconds left in the game.
The former Stepinac star had 19 points for the Dukes as they beat Fordham 89-68. He was one of five players in double figures for Duquesne (13-6, 4-2 in the Atlantic-10). It was the eighth straight loss for the Rams, who are 2-15 and 0-5 in league.
Duquesne is poised to make a run into the postseason, and as the season has progressed, Bolding has become more comfortable on the court. He said he had a tough time adjusting to the speed of the college game, and Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said Bolding's reaction time has improved dramatically.
"Guys are looking to Mel as a leader," Everhart said. "They're not looking at him as a freshman anymore."
The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 9.6 points per game after yesterday's effort, which included six rebounds and three steals. Bolding is the team's only freshman starter and played 33 minutes yesterday. His first shot was a textbook finger roll.
"Beautiful," said his father, James. "His finger roll is really developing now."
The Pittsburgh campus is around seven hours away from Mount Vernon, but his mother, Melinda, said her son calls every day to check in. Bolding has taken to the city, and said he even saw a few members of the Super Bowl-bound Steelers at his barbershop.
Both his parents were happy to see his familiar smile on the Rose Hill court, especially since this was a date they had circled on the calendar since Bolding opted for Duquesne after initially giving an oral commitment to Louisville.
"To me, it shows he's comfortable," James said.
The Dukes are coming off a one-point overtime loss to St. Joseph's, which is in second place in the A-10 behind Xavier.
Fordham has continued to struggle, and is tied with George Washington for last place in the league. Yesterday, the Rams jumped out to a 7-3 lead off four points from senior forward Zach Wing. Point guard Jio Fontan had 16 points and three assists, and sophomore guard Mike Moore had 18 points. Senior forward Chris Bethel added 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Yesterday Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg pointed to poor shooting as the culprit. The Rams made a woeful 2 of 23 3-point attempts, and were outrebounded 46-34.
Whittenburg, in his sixth season with the Rams, is having one of his worst seasons. After the Bob Hill debacle, many alumni were willing to give Whittenburg as much time as he needed to lift the program up, but that patience will not hold out indefinitely.
The Rams start a freshman and two sophomores, and after the initial lead, the Dukes ran out to a 43-27 lead by the half.
The basket that gave Duquesne the lead for good? A finger roll from Bolding with 12:41 to play in the first half, which put the Dukes ahead 10-9.
"I don't look at myself as a freshman anymore," Bolding said.